I had never heard of Pavlova before I saw it on my friend, Michelle's, blog. Have you heard of it? Maybe I am the only one. :) I was trying to think of something a little different for Valentine's and little by little, I landed here and it was a good choice.
While flipping through our book for Bake 52, I noticed a pavlova recipe there also. I looked at both recipes, but decided I liked Michelle's better for a few reasons. Her recipe included cream cheese and whipped cream, while the one in the book only calls for whipped cream. We all know if you add cream cheese to anything, I am in. But if you are a cream cheese hater, like my sister-in-law, you could probably make these with just the whipped cream. Michelle also has a healthier version for the topping on her blog as well as instructions on how to make one large pavlova instead of individual ones (which is what we are doing here). You can check it out HERE.
These were so good, I am seriously in love with them. They aren't something I have seen a million times before which I think is another added bonus. These aren't just another cupcake or cookie, my friends, these are different and amazing. It's basically meringue on the bottom with a cream cheese, whipped cream topping and fruit of your choice. I've had meringue cookies from the grocery store before, but these were lighter and softer, but still with a little bit of a chewy crunch. OH DEAR! They are good! You just have to try them, seriously. I didn't think they were all that hard either, but it's one of those things everyone assumes is hard. It takes some time because they bake for quite a while on a low temperature and cool for a while, but most of the time taken for these babies is unattended time. You can make the cookies up to 2 weeks in advance and store in a airtight container until ready to use. (If you somehow kept these things around for 2 weeks, you would need a medal or some kind of recognition.) Then you can just assemble when ready to eat. Oh, and did I mention these are gluten free???? This might be the perfect dessert. If only it were calorie free. :)
I halved the recipe (that was really stupid of me) and had about 6 hearts, so I assume the full recipe (below) would make about 12 individual cookies.
Pavlova (individual size)
4 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 tsp vanilla
1 cup sugar
8 oz cream cheese
1 1/2 cups cool whip
1/4 cup sugar
Fruit of your choice
Preheat oven to 200. Beat egg whites with cream of tartar and vanilla until mixture is foamy and light. Start adding sugar a little at a time until all combined. Continue beating on high until mixture forms stiff peaks. (Michelle says you can't over beat! How nice is that to know???)
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. You can either use 1/2 cup of mixture and spoon onto the baking sheet, shaping as desired, or I am thinking you could pipe these and do some cool things with them. I used a spoon this time, but next time, I am getting serious.
Try to make them as even and smooth as possible. How they look on the baking sheet is almost exactly how they will look when baked. Bake for 90 minutes. Turn oven off and let cool in oven for 2 hours. Remove from oven and cool completely.
Beat cream cheese until smooth, add sugar and combine. Fold in cool whip. Refrigerate until ready to use
To assemble: Spread topping on each cookie and top with fresh fruit of your choice.
Have a great weekend!
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